A TEENAGE moped rider led police on a dangerous 20-minute chase at night while not wearing a helmet.

Ben Henderson, a disqualified driver since 2018, came to police motor patrols attention shortly after midnight on October 14 after failing to stop for local officers at a petrol station, in Seaham.

Durham Crown Court heard that he was soon spotted as not only was he without a helmet, but the moped had no registration plates.

Rachel Butt, prosecuting, said he ignored signals to stop and drove on a stretch of the A19, went the wrong way around a traffic island and rode at 60-mph in a 30-zone.

As he left a road and mounted a footpath, back in Seaham, preventing the patrol cars from following, the pursuing officers called for aerial support from the police helicopter.

Henderson managed to evade a deployed ‘stinger’ device designed to deflate tyres, before abandoning the moped on his own street, Ryton Crescent.

Miss Butt told the court he tried to hide in a private garden, but, directed from colleagues in the sky, officers on the ground were able to locate and arrest him.

He admitted having been the moped driver, but when he was interviewed gave ‘no comment’ replies.

The 18-year-old defendant, of Ryton Crescent, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

Arising from other offences in the past year, he also admitted theft, criminal damage and assaulting an emergency worker, head butting a police officer who was arresting him for shoplifting.

The court heard he has 18 convictions for 48 offences.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said there was less likely to be a risk to the public in the chase as Henderson was on a moped and not in a car.

“He knew he was still serving a disqualification, as he had not passed a re-test, and that’s why he tried to get away from police at the time.”

Mr Hamill said Probation Service intervention may assist with issues in Henderson’s life.

Judge Ray Singh, told Henderson: “You are now over 18 and have committed what can only be described as a crime spree since last November.

“You have numerous previous convictions for which you have been given countless opportunities which you have not taken, as you have continued to offend.”

He imposed custodial sentences totalling 20 months and banned Henderson from driving for a further three years and ten months.